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Whatever Happened to Sarah Jane? (TV story)

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Whatever Happened to Sarah Jane?
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Novelised as: Whatever Happened to Sarah Jane?
Main character(s): Sarah Jane, Maria, Clyde, Luke, Mr Smith
Featuring: Alan, Chrissie, Andrea
Main enemy: The Trickster, Andrea Yates, Krislok
Main setting: Ealing and an Alternative Ealing, 2008, Limbo, England, 1964
Key crew
Writer: Gareth Roberts
Director: Graeme Harper
Producer: Matthew Bouch
Release details
Story number: 5
Season/series: 1
Premiere broadcast: 29 October - 5 November 2007
Format: 2x30 minute episodes
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Whatever Happened to Sarah Jane? was the fifth story of the first series of The Sarah Jane Adventures. It was comprised of episodes 7 and 8 of the regular series. It saw the introduction of the Trickster, a recurring villain of the programme, whose minions would also appear in Doctor Who and Torchwood. Additionally, Alan Jackson got exposed to alien activity yet again, to the point it was beyond Sarah Jane's power to cover the evidence up. This left her no choice but to reveal her secret life before Alan and entrust her secrets to yet another person in her growing circle of friends.

Synopsis

One day, Sarah Jane Smith exists. The next, only Maria Jackson knows of her. Andrea Yates takes her place, but Maria knows that Andrea has done something to remove Sarah Jane from the space/time continuum. It is up to Maria to uncover the identity of the "Trickster" if the human race is to survive. But with Sarah Jane and Luke wiped from existence and Clyde having lost all knowledge of his former adventures, Maria must save the world single-handedly. But she finds it may be time to tell her father about her secret life with Sarah Jane if the whole world is to survive.

Plot

Part 1

Sarah Jane Smith and Alan Jackson pick up Clyde, Luke and Maria. They stop off in a park where Clyde practises his skateboarding. Alan, disappointed at what he sees, tries to teach Clyde, showing off his own skills. Maria takes photos of everyone. While being photographed, Sarah Jane becomes very cold and mutters that someone just walked over her grave. As they leave, a black-cloaked, hooded figure peers from behind a bush. Back in Sarah's attic, Sarah Jane tells Maria, Luke and Clyde about a meteorite on course with Earth. She reassures them Mr Smith will deflect it the next day. After sending Clyde home and Luke to make tea, Sarah Jane gives Maria an alien puzzle box. It was a gift from a Verron Soothsayer, who told her to give it to the person she trusts the most and just to "remember". Sarah Jane says she chose Maria and sent Luke away so he wouldn't be offended. Maria tries to open it that night, but falls asleep holding it.

A mysterious, cloaked figure approaches Sarah Jane's house. He holds out a hand. The lights in the house go out, her car disappears and the puzzle block glows blue in Maria's hand. The next day, she tells her dad she is going to Sarah Jane's. Alan has not heard of the woman. Maria takes this as a joke. He mentions Andrea and thinks Maria is joking when she asks who Andrea is. Across the street is a strange woman in Sarah Jane's house who seems to know Maria, but neither Sarah Jane or Luke are there. Her dad calls the woman Andrea. Maria rushes into the house but the layout is entirely different. Checking the attic, she finds it is filled with old junk and Mr. Smith is gone. Maria checks yesterday's photos. Sarah Jane and Luke are not in them, but Andrea is. Sarah Jane, Luke and Mr. Smith have vanished. She alone remembers them.

Maria searches her mobile phone contacts, but Sarah Jane, Luke, and Clyde's numbers have all vanished. She remembers the impending meteor, but no one will listen. Remembering Clyde's number from memory, she calls him, but he is an acquaintance rather than one of her best friends. When Maria asks about Sarah Jane and Luke, Clyde tells her that he has no memory of either of them before rudely brushing her off. Maria decides to search for information on Sarah Jane in the library. She and her father find a newspaper article from 1964; a thirteen-year-old Sarah Jane Smith drowned after falling from a pier, where she was larking around with her friend, Andrea Yates. Alan reasons that Andrea told her about the accident.

As Maria watches, the names of the deceased and the survivor switch for a second, though a bemused Alan claims he saw nothing. Maria tells her dad she was lying to stop his worrying. She goes to confront Andrea. Maria becomes angry when Andrea can't seem to recall her best friend's death and Andrea throws Maria out.

Andrea rushes to the attic and finds a second puzzle box. The cloaked figure reappears and reminds Andrea of their agreement. She can't bear the memory and begs him to help her. He offers to make Maria disappear. After Andrea accepts, he dispatches a Graske, who chases Maria into a dead end under a tunnel. Despite her attempts to dodge the gun, the Graske shoots a clip attached to a cord at Maria. It catches onto her breast pocket and the Graske teleports Maria away just after Alan picks up the first puzzle box, which Maria had dropped. When Chrissie comes round, she cannot remember their daughter, although her ex-husband can. Meanwhile Maria escapes from the Graske and finds herself on a beach promenade near two girls in school uniform. She grabs a newspaper and sees the date: July 13th 1964, the day of the accident. When Maria asks the two girls where she is, they introduce themselves as Andrea Yates and Sarah Jane Smith.

WHTSJ

Sarah Jane and the Trickster talk in Limbo.

Part 2

After failing to dissuade Andrea from taking Sarah Jane to the pier, Maria is recaptured by the Graske and is taken to join the adult Sarah Jane on a white, misty plain called Limbo. The mysterious figure summons Sarah and explains that he has removed Sarah Jane from Earth's timeline so the meteorite will destroy it and create the chaos on which he feeds. Luke also no longer exists, as in the altered timeline the Bane never came to Earth and thus he was never created. He removes his hood to reveal a featureless face and a mouth with sharp, pointed teeth. He tells her how wonderful she is and that her life was so important to the Earth, but he found just the right time to "snuff it out". As he leaves, he also mentions that he will proceed to remove the Doctor from time as well, to ensure nothing can interfere with his plan.

Chrissie becomes angry at Alan for making up that they had children, and Alan begins to realise that what Maria said was true. He accompanies Chrissie to Andrea's birthday party. Recalling Maria's suspicions, he questions Andrea, who tries to change the subject but eventually breaks down and takes him to the attic. She tearfully reveals the truth. When she was on a school trip in July 1964, she and Sarah left the school group to explore on their own. After getting into the locked pier they larked around for a bit before leaning over the railings. Andrea leant on an open gate and tumbled down, grabbing hold of an overhanging girder. Sarah Jane tried to save her, but could not. A hoarse voice offered to switch the girls' places. Andrea, terrified, accepted. The two girls immediately swapped places and Sarah Jane fell, with Andrea safe. The figure appeared and gave her the puzzle box, then removed himself from Andrea's memory, promising to always be with her.

Andrea had forgotten about her friend's entire existence, but Maria’s questions made her remember. She tries to reason with Alan, telling him she was a terrified child at the time, but Alan reminds her that she's just done the same to Maria. The figure appears in the mirror, though Alan cannot see him. He offers to remove Alan. Andrea apologises both for removing Maria and for what she is about to do. She grabs Alan's puzzle box as a Graske appears. Alan is chased into the street by the Graske, but knocks it down on his skateboard and ties it up. He uses its snare device to bring back Maria.

Maria returns to reality, leaving Sarah Jane on her own in limbo. At Andrea's party Clyde switches on the television. Everyone at Andrea's party learns that a huge meteorite is heading for Earth and the air force are planning a missile strike. Maria tells Alan to fire the snare again to return Sarah Jane, but she does not appear; Maria deduces that she returned to her home, so Sarah Jane should be in her attic. The missile strike fails, and the guests flee the party to watch the approaching meteor.

In the attic, Sarah Jane appears in the mirror and explains that she cannot return while Andrea is there. Andrea grows angry when Maria says Andrea was "meant to die", arguing that she has the right to live and she will be forgotten. Sarah Jane agrees that neither of them should have died... it was a pointless death, something that Sarah Jane never forgot. Witnessing Andrea's death gave her the resolve to fight pointless deaths herself. When the figure reappears (called “the Trickster” by Alan), Andrea realises that she will die either way and withdraws the agreement, throwing the puzzle box at the mirror which smashes both.

Back in 1964, Andrea falls to her death, whispering, "Remember me," to Sarah Jane just before she falls, while Sarah Jane and Luke reappear with Alan and Maria in the attic. Maria jumps up, remembering the meteor, now only metres from impact, and activates Mr Smith. The party guests have fled, but Clyde and Chrissie remain as targets for the incoming meteorite. Mr Smith activates the magnetic buffer and the meteorite diverts at the last minute. Clyde and Chrissie are relieved. Clyde joins the others in the attic, where Alan demands an explanation of his daughter’s involvement with aliens, monsters and supercomputers. The four look at each other and have no answer.

Cast

Crew

General production staff

Script department

Camera and lighting department

Art department

Costume department

Make-up and prosthetics

Movement

General post-production staff

Special and visual effects

Sound







Not every person who worked on this adventure was credited. The absence of a credit for a position doesn't necessarily mean the job wasn't required. The information above is based solely on observations of the actual end credits of the episodes as broadcast, and does not relay information from IMDB or other sources.


References

  • Sarah Jane Smith is Maria's age, thirteen, in 1964.
  • The Trickster discusses using Sarah Jane to locate the Doctor and remove him from time, foreshadowing the events of TV: Turn Left. He also states that Luke Smith was never created because the Bane never came to Earth.
  • Since Luke wasn't created, the Trickster says that he is in the Forgotten Places. The Forgotten Places are even further away than Limbo.
  • "You Really Got Me" is playing on a radio when Maria is transported back in time.
  • Sarah mentions that she's helped thwart several alien invasions including the Bane, Slitheen, and Gorgons, and that she helped defeat the Patriarchs of the Tin Vagabond.
  • Sarah Jane authored a book called UNIT: Fighting for Humankind, and has a copy in the attic.
  • Carla Morgan was a childhood friend of Sarah Jane and Andrea. In the alternative timeline, she wrote a poem dedicated to Sarah Jane and posted it on her profile on a social networking site.
  • After searching the Internet, Maria discovers a solicitor named Sarah Jane Smith (presumably somewhere in the United Kingdom) as well as another woman of the same name who plays football in Guernsey.

Story notes

Ratings

  • Part 1 - 406,000 (CBBC)
    • 1.2 million (BBC 1)
  • Part 2- 633,000 (CBBC)
    • 1.1 million (BBC 1)

Filming locations

  • Clinton Road, Penarth (Bannerman Road)
  • Esplanade, Penarth
  • Penarth Pier, Penarth
  • Science Library, Cardiff University
  • Victoria Road, Penarth
  • Dinas Powys Skatepark, Cardiff Road, Dinas Powys
  • Park Place, Cardiff
  • Archer Place (Path under Bridge), Penarth
  • BBC Studios, Upper Boat, Tonteg Road, Treforest Industrial Estate, Pontypridd

Production errors

  • Sarah Jane lives on 13 Bannerman Road, but a sign at the gates clearly says "21".
  • When Andrea grabs the puzzle box and throws it to the floor, the puzzle box appears to break.

Continuity

If you'd like to talk about narrative problems with this story — like plot holes and things that seem to contradict other stories — please go to this episode's discontinuity discussion.

Home video releases

  • This story was included in the Series 1 box set, which was released in North America on 7 October 2008 and in the UK on 10 November 2008.

External links


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